Used tires gain traction in some states, but consider them unsafe at any speed
In recent weeks, Florida and Texas have crafted proposals to regulate the sale of used tires. Yes, used tires. In this tough economy, buying a used tire at the fraction of the cost of a new one is attractive and may even seem like a reasonable solution for replacing worn-out tires. But it is not.
States face a challenge of getting “unsafe” used tires out of the marketplace, but that goal just leads to a less-bad solution. The guidelines defining unsafe tires seem like common-sense directives with sellers having to inspect tires for exposed damage, including cuts, bulges, and improper repairs. Retailers may go through this process, but a lot of used tires are sold by individuals online who may not inspect the tires at all.
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Our take, as previously reported (“Buying used tires can save you money, but are they too risky?“), is that it’s never a good idea to buy used tires. Even if the tire looks like new, it could have hidden damage resulting from abuse in its previous service life, or could have been sitting in trunk of a car for years and simply aged beyond it useful life.
For piece of mind, always consider buying new tires. Prices vary significantly among the various models out there and by retailer, so shop around. Also, ask the retailer what the total cost of the tire including installation. Often you can you can get free mounting and balancing if you buy four tires at time—something you are not likely to get when buying used. Likewise, buying new ensures the retailer will take the old rubber and properly recycle it, saving you a step and potential hassle.
Err on the side of safety, and consider used tires for sale to be unsafe at any speed.